Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    847

    Failure vs Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by eRa View Post
    I'm marching towards failure in EUIV as Prussia, Ironman mode of course.
    eRa's post in the "what game are you playing" thread got me thinking about how gaming in general treats players failing or failure in games. An unsung hallmark of the strategy genre - tbs, rts, srpg, etc. - all seem to provide an avenue of going down in a blaze of glory in the vain hope that you can pull of a miracle. But even if you can't, you'll be damned if you let the enemy have an easy path to victory. The nature of strategy games means that even if there's a strong narrative element to the singleplayer you still have enough leeway to create your own approach to victory/failure.

    I find failing in this manner just as enjoyable as pulling of that perfect strategic victory where you didn't give the enemy the slightest inch or a battle of attrition that you scrapped and scraped your way through like a cat on crack. Hack&slash games with a strong and well realised combat system also offer something similar to me. When I die in Ninja Gaiden Black/2, Vanquish and Bayonetta its because I messed up, not because the game decided to force a fail state down my throat.

    The problem is that the AAA mentality of the last decade or so means there are now some personally unenjoyable extremes of fail states. Games where failing isn't your fault or a mistake you made but decided by the mechanics of the game, often arbitrarily or at least in a manner you can't determine. Often, it feels like you're haplessly playing through a game and simply have no choice but to hope you don't screw up again, whatever that may have been.

    The CoD games on hard difficulty (Or above) are literally the embodiment of a crapshoot and basically an exercise in masochism with often no way to tell what the fuck is going on. Then games that are so limited design wise because of their narrative that nothing you do has any impact and failure is completely inconsequential or maybe even a narrative necessity. And the worst type, games where its impossible to fail - PoP 2008 comes to mind. And the less said about QTEs (grrr grrr grrrr) the better.

    tl;dr
    More games should make failing logical, make sense within the design of the game, enjoyable if possible and not an arbitrary punishment device designed to frustrate and/or insult gamers.

  2. #2
    Obscure Node meeshoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Romania
    Posts
    4
    I would add Demon's/Dark Souls to the list of games where you fail only because your own mistakes. This kind of games expose all their difficulty right from the start, but also give you all the tools you need to solve that, and you get to learn the tools by failing repeatedly, which is actually very effective and also more rewarding - for me at least - than through easy to do tutorials.

  3. #3
    Network Hub
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    147
    I have to disagree with that meeshoo(I'm gonna receive so much crap from you guys for this). Dark Souls is a dick regarding death, the game needs you to die. It involves you dying enough times to gain that muscle memory to progress. It artificially inflates the difficulty. I'm walking along and all of a sudden with no warning a boulder drops on my face. That game doesn't give you a fair chance. The game want's to punish you just because you haven't died in a while so it creates these bullshit situations.

    Regarding strategy games, It's a tough balance to get right between failure and punishment, for example in CoH2 last night I was getting stomped but I didn't feel like I couldn't pull it back, the game always gives you options for that fighting chance with things like those abilities.
    Supreme Commander on the other hand, as soon as you're out of sequence there it's pretty much game over.

  4. #4
    When does it do that Rirdeg? Obviously there are many traps, but I can't remember one that wasn't telegraphed in some way. There's the boulder in Sen's Fortress, but the first time you encounter it, it flattens a snakeman for you, so you know it's there before it can arbitrarily end you.

  5. #5
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    847
    Its a tricky one with games like Dark Souls. Combat focused games need an element of muscle memory and repetition because that's the whole point usually. You're attempting to master a system which the developers designed. As long as the system offer appropriate checks and balances, I think its worth enduring with. Its very easy for these systems to fall apart though.

    Best example I can think of; Ninja Gaiden Black is exquisitely balanced at all difficulty levels. Ninja Gaiden 2 is outstanding till warrior (normal) difficulty but the camera and certain enemies make life awfully irritating and a chore on master ninja (hard) and mentor (very hard) difficulty. All it took was one or two poorly designed elements for the combat system to nearly fall apart. When done right though, the rewards are outstanding.

    The problem with Supreme Commander and similar rts games is that they're races to the most efficient skill tree+resource management combo. There's pretty much no way to fight back after a certain point in games like that.

  6. #6
    Network Hub alset85's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Romania
    Posts
    404
    He probably means the one in the Undead Asylum. He sounds like someone who didn't even get to the first bell, gave up and cried "Artificial Difficulty!!!".
    Steam ID ; GFWL: alset85

  7. #7
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    853
    Obligatory "Dark Souls Have Artificial Difficulty" Comic Response:

    http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/...8325462202.png

    But yeah, I must admit that some parts of this game are really dick for players, like Demon Firesage fight when you can die like 2 seconds after entering the fog gate or first attempt to fight Seath The Scaleless where you can't win.

    I'm walking along and all of a sudden with no warning a boulder drops on my face.
    That rock also got me at first time, but you can see that something is blocking the path and I was running like second adventurer from that comic, not paying attention to my surroundings.
    Last edited by GameCat; 25-11-2013 at 11:54 AM.

  8. #8
    Activated Node
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    65
    Quote Originally Posted by Rirdeg View Post
    I have to disagree with that meeshoo(I'm gonna receive so much crap from you guys for this). Dark Souls is a dick regarding death, the game needs you to die. It involves you dying enough times to gain that muscle memory to progress. It artificially inflates the difficulty. I'm walking along and all of a sudden with no warning a boulder drops on my face. That game doesn't give you a fair chance.

    I strongly disagree. Once you get the hang of things - as in, move slow with shield raised if you don't know the place - chances of getting murdered border to 0. In fact, i'm pretty sure on my first PT i the first time i died was against the black knight in the burg, against havel the rock (both foes you might well ignore and deal with later on) and then twice to the capra demon. The game simply wants you to proceed with caution, if you do not, you get punished.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    8,835
    Games that are "fun to lose" then? Hidden Source, Splinter Cell's Spies vs Mercenaries mode(Pandora Tommorow, Chaos Theory, Blacklist), Battlefield 2: Project Reality.

    These 3 all features brutally quick combat and punish firing on sight. You need to pick your moments, feign ignorance, lay traps, cooperate and communicate. Yes, its lazy to suggest a multiplayer shooter but honestly these are not in the same vein as Call of Manshoots, which punish being new, making mistakes and not reading wiki's with free toys for winning leading to a snowball of unfair advantages.

    I would also like to include the UT2004 mod Alien Swarm, not what valve farted out with unlocks.

    Its the same list I've been posting since 2003ish.

    *Cries into hands*

    Additionally: For narrative the slow burn strategy of Solium Infernum, Sword of the Stars (1) or Dominions (3/4) cant be matched.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  10. #10
    Network Hub
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    147
    Yes, let the hate flow through you.

    You're right I didnt enjoy playing dark souls so I didnt play it long. It's not a problem with the difficulty I love hard games, I just want to be given a fair chance. I dont know, maybe I need to stick with it longer than I did

    That comic is brilliant.
    Last edited by Rirdeg; 25-11-2013 at 12:17 PM.

  11. #11
    Activated Node
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    65
    Quote Originally Posted by Rirdeg View Post
    Yes, let the hate flow through you.

    You're right I didnt enjoy playing dark souls so I didnt play it long. It's not a problem with the difficulty I love hard games, I just want to be given a fair chance. I dont know, maybe I need to stick with it longer than I did

    That comic is brilliant.
    I'd give it a second chance if i were you. It's that kind of game that hooks you up the longer you play it. After a while, you'll go around 2handing weapons wearing an armor because it looks cool rather than for its stats, feeling like a badass stomping enemies with heavy attacks in between dodges.

  12. #12
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    853
    What about a bullet hell shmups then? You can't really play them without dying few times and memorizing attacks of all enemies and bosses. This is the core part of this genre and you can still find people who love it.
    Also, could you give some examples of hard but fair games?

  13. #13
    Lesser Hivemind Node Harlander's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Weymouth, UK
    Posts
    763
    Quote Originally Posted by alset85 View Post
    He probably means the one in the Undead Asylum. He sounds like someone who didn't even get to the first bell, gave up and cried "Artificial Difficulty!!!".
    I never suspected Dark Souls of having artificial difficulty. It has purely emergent difficulty, and that difficulty is too hard.

    Individuals who aren't a huge klutz might have a different experience, of course.

  14. #14
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    612
    Quote Originally Posted by Rirdeg View Post
    It's not a problem with the difficulty I love hard games, I just want to be given a fair chance.
    You keep saying that, but I'm not exactly sure you really mean it, else you Dark Souls would be among your favorite games. I'd recommend you don't try the game again and rather stay away from it though. This isn't meant as snark. There are people, that simply don't get along with the game and you seem to be one of them. They approach it with the "wrong" mindset and find themselves incompatible with the game.
    Case in point: On my first playthrough I had absolutely no idea about the movesets of the bosses. If I met a boss that posed a challenge to me, I started tinkering with my equipment, switching out spells and weapons or exploring other places to come back later. It worked so tremendously well that I never once had to learn a bosses moveset to beat it. Zero muscle memory was required to beat the game. Just the will to try different tactics and approaches, keep the shield up and carefully approach unknown situations.

  15. #15
    Lesser Hivemind Node Drinking with Skeletons's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    NC, USA
    Posts
    714
    Quote Originally Posted by Rirdeg View Post
    I have to disagree with that meeshoo(I'm gonna receive so much crap from you guys for this). Dark Souls is a dick regarding death, the game needs you to die. It involves you dying enough times to gain that muscle memory to progress. It artificially inflates the difficulty. I'm walking along and all of a sudden with no warning a boulder drops on my face. That game doesn't give you a fair chance. The game want's to punish you just because you haven't died in a while so it creates these bullshit situations.
    Agree 100% with you. I would love Dark Souls if non-boss enemies inflicted about 25% less damage. The skeletons in the opening area would still be a threat (there's a lot of them, there's a lot of room to fall off, positioning and speed are still important, etc.) but you'd have enough leeway to poke around a little bit without getting frustrated. Status effects would still be problematic and necessitate attention. Bosses are the game's biggest bottle neck, and no amount of level-grinding is going to completely de-fang them, so players really lose nothing.

    If I knew how to mod this in I'd pick up the PC version.

  16. #16
    Network Hub
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    147
    Quote Originally Posted by GameCat View Post
    What about a bullet hell shmups then? You can't really play them without dying few times and memorizing attacks of all enemies and bosses. This is the core part of this genre and you can still find people who love it.
    Also, could you give some examples of hard but fair games?
    This is true, and I don't even mind the odd shoot em up. They are however more score based and it feels much less cheap to die in one of those games. I don't think mechanics like that translate well to an RPG.
    Off the top of my head;
    Spelunky, a great example. Different genre sure, but I never feel cheated by death in this.
    FTL
    Most rogue-likes
    Killing floor and the like.

    Couldn't think of an example for a traditional rpg.

    Forged, you could be right, it could be the mindset I took into it. I will try it again soon however, the discussion here has intrigued me to see if I was missing something the first time round.

    Anyway i'm going to take this to a Dark Souls thread rather than de-rail Khaz's interesting thread any further.
    Last edited by Rirdeg; 25-11-2013 at 03:11 PM.

  17. #17
    Obscure Node
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    3
    I find the Souls games to be particularly great games, because while they do have a learning curve, the controls and general gameplay are not difficult to get into, while games like Europa Universalis require you to spend a long time learning the game's rules and mechanics to even play the game as a relatively forgiving, powerful nation.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    1,494
    I like to think of it as a continuum.
    On the hard but fair side I would place VVVVV, there are few surprises and the punishment is minimal. On the hard but unfair side I would place Electronic Superjoy or the original Revenge of the Titans, they rely on surprises a lot and you can't predict what's coming.
    On the easy but fair side you have something like New Super Mario Bros or Braid. The levels themselves aren't that bad, and the punishment for completely dying is hard to reach, but there's optional challenges that provide depth.
    On the easy but unfair side is Limbo, which uses dick moves at every moment to kill you and then shows you an excruciating and slow death animation every time. The game itself isn't hard though.

  19. #19
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    england
    Posts
    624
    Quote Originally Posted by GameCat View Post
    What about a bullet hell shmups then? You can't really play them without dying few times and memorizing attacks of all enemies and bosses. This is the core part of this genre and you can still find people who love it.
    Also, could you give some examples of hard but fair games?
    More a case of "getting in the zone" than memory I think. You kinda have to switch off and not think about it too much,it at least that's how I (occasionaly) get good shump scores. Especially true with psychedelic shumps, such as those made by Jeff minter.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •